Oh, Austin.. this city speaks to me.
It is always interesting to see how my actual experience of a city compares with my impression before I visit. Before coming to Austin, ravings were all I heard from friends and family
“There’s this gem of a town in the middle of Texas that’s like a bigger version of Athens.”
The idea of living in Texas before visiting Austin was completely unappetizing to me. Before coming here, I was skeptical about the way so many people declared Austin as being an amazing city to move to in your twenties.
From the beautifully hand-crafted murals on every building to the delicious vegetarian options on every menu thus far, Austin feels comfortable. “Quickie Pickie” is the best cafe/health-food store invented and I am obsessed with “Torchy’s Tacos.” Oh, also, tacos for every meal? Ya, it’s really a thing. There is even a part of town called “So-Co” that feels like I’ve found Athens all squished into one street.
In terms of first impressions, the first thing I noticed about this city is how aesthetically pleasing it is. This is by far the most colorful city I have ever been to. The signs, buildings, and even color of people’s hair are all extremely vibrant. They weren’t kidding about Austin being a young city, I still don’t think I have seen anyone over 40.
Austin seems to understand individuality. There is something for everyone out here. Whether you are a true cowboy boot-wearing texan or a crusty pink-haired hipster, everyone sits at the same dinner table. Even after only being here for a week, I’ve started picking up on the nuances that seem to be the norm in Austin culture. For one, food trucks seem to be a more common food venue than a cafe. They are on every street corner and just in case you get hungry on the way into the restaurant, they are even in every parking lot. This town is no joke for a foodie. There are amazing local restaurants everywhere and the best part is that Austin is still an affordable city.
Despite the summer heat and lack of my first true love, mountains, Austin has a pretty amazing outdoor culture. It is ranked one of the fittest cities in the U.S. and I can see why. The main running trail hugs the river as you run past the city and ends at Barton Springs Creek where the norm is to jump in for a mid-run cool down. Driving over Lady Bird Lake on the bridge to downtown gives the best view of the city and the lake. There never seems to be a lack of people paddle boarding or kayaking down Lady Bird Lake. In a search for some active things to do during my days here, I found a list of free yoga classes at different locations that take place every single day. There were also scheduled work outs that were free to join on the field right outside Barton Springs Creek trail. I honestly feel like I would never get bored of finding ways to move in this city.
The social scene is an interesting dynamic. It entails crowds of people looking to really get down and dirty on 6th street versus Rainey Street, which is a more laid back vibe where people can go to catch some live music in an atmosphere that feels like being in your own backyard. I attended a meet-up for a discussion about indie films and production companies in Austin and that was a really fun way to meet people and experience what it is like to be in the quintessential “Austin start-up” tribe. It felt like every exchange I had with strangers was always cordial, so many young people just looking to make new friends and hear about what start-up you happen to be working on.
I am so impressed with Austin as a city and I would definitely consider moving here as a young 20 something. It’s the perfect blend of big city living and small town loving.